July 16

This year, responding to feedback, ESTA colleagues Richard Barlow and Philip Heyman began a new string group specifically for adult beginners; talking with one of his adult students, Philip became aware that, whilst there were a few choices of ensembles for children in their early stages of learning, there seemed to be nothing for adults in this position. This created the idea for Cardiff Friendly Strings and, having worked with Richard through ESTA before, this new 'team' began CFS in January. Hoping maybe 20 players might turn up, they were astonished when close to 50 attendees arrived! Meeting once a month, CFS seems to be filling a gap; we attract a wide mixture of players, some teachers playing their non-specialist instrument, some adult beginners and quite a few players who haven't played for 20/30 or even 40 years!
'I've had so many people asking whether they'd be good enough' says Philip. 'The answer is always yes! The most rewarding aspect of this group is seeing someone turn up a bit apprehensive and then gradually find their way and, by the end of the session absolutely over the moon at what they have achieved. And everyone accepts everyone else's abilities... Some people play more of the notes than others but it doesn't matter; we're all there to have fun!' So, it seems the name 'Friendly' was well  chosen; 'I find most people support each other in an environment like this, which is lovely to see' says Philip.
The group have decided to have an 'open day' on 16th July to invite players possibly from further away to join us. 'Starting at 11, we will rehearse before and after lunch and then at 4 play a little, informal concert... possibly just to ourselves!'

The day will be held at the Church of the Resurrection, Grand Avenue, Ely, Cardiff, CF54HX. All are welcome, the day costs £5, bring your own lunch and music stand... and instrument!

If you would like to know more about this day, or Cardiff Friendly Strings in general, or would be interested in a 'Friendly Strings' day to be held near you, please contact Philip Heyman at
Philip Heyman is the principal viola with Welsh National Opera

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